Small Group Learning and Discussion Spaces


(Martin Davies) #1

Hi, I’m interested in making contact, and sharing experiences, with folk using Discourse to support small (typically up to 30 max) group discussions around shared learning and problem solving topics. Are you working in this area and using group based collaborative and learning tools? If so, please respond to this topic. Thank you.


(Jay Pfaffman) #2

In a former life I was a professor who used Discourse to teach my classes. I gave students sets of challenges to solve with various computer applications and share their solutions. Students were “required” to read and comment on each other’s work, and in like that. Syllabus: EDM510 2016 Summer - EDM510 Summer 2016 - Literate Computing: Learning to Think Like a Geek is a syllabus that I used.


(Martin Davies) #3

Thanks Jay. Good to hear from you. Many years ago - in a former life too - I used to be a teaching fellow at a business school. Most of the folk I worked with weren’t that IT savvy. We used Lotus Notes discussion spaces to structure discussions. We had mixed results but those people who latched on to the idea and benefits of using shared discussion spaces achieved some great results. One feature that seemed vital (and to be missing from many current discussion apps) was the use of fully threaded discussions (in the style of Reddit). This enabled those joining an existing discussion to appreciate how the conversation and shared understanding had developed before they joined.

It’d be good to hear about some of your own experiences.


(Alessio Fattorini) #4

Group size is not a parameter. Valuable contents and discussions are.
Keep focus on starting valuable discussions, involve people and get them to make great contributions.
Don’t worry about numbers
it’s better a noisy small group than a quite big one


(Martin Davies) #5

Thanks Alessio. Interesting. Yes, I think you’re right ‘noisy is better than quiet’. That said, I’m not sure that group size is unimportant. Depending on what the purpose of the forum is (problem solving, informational, personal networking etc.) then I think group size becomes an important design consideration.